Falkholt family’s reluctant plea
ALMOST a year after the Boxing Day crash that knocked a "whole branch" off the Falkholt family tree, a relative is urging drivers to stay safe on the roads over the holiday period.
Parents Lars and Vivian were killed instantly when their car was struck head-on by a four-wheel-drive near Ulladulla on the New South Wales South Coast on December 26 last year.
Sisters Jessica and Annabelle were pulled from the wreck before the vehicles erupted in flames, but both later died in hospital.
Cousin Daniella Dare says the year has been "horrible" without them.
"Losing four people and even the family dog - the toll of the family you can't imagine," she told reporters on Thursday.
"It's been horrible. My family and I are facing our first holiday season without a whole branch of our family tree."
Ms Dare joined police to launch Operation Safe Arrival - the state's annual operation to keep people safe on roads over the holidays.
She said never expected her family would be the "poster family" for tragedy over the festive season but hoped it would remind others of the suffering behind road trauma statistics.
"Please let our suffering spark a change in the way that you drive this year and just remember the toll it can have on people," Ms Dare said.
"It can affect someone's lives forever."
While Lars and Vivian were killed instantly, Annabelle Falkholt died from her injuries in hospital three days later.
Jessica, an actress, spent several weeks clinging to life in St George Hospital and died on January 17 after her life support was switched off.
Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said the government had installed wire barriers at the site of the crash, as well as other safety measures.
"Our job is to improve the infrastructure and make our roads safer, but its got to be a double partnership - we need a partnership with the community," she said.
Ms Pavey highlighted speed, alcohol and mobile phones as major factors in road fatalities.
Operation Safe Arrival begins on December 21 and will end on New Year's Day.